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Subject: A Great and Terrible Story...
Well, you know how that goes, just like all immortal Grateful Dead Tour stories... We were townies for the start of the tour, the two Omni shows in Atlanta 3/27; 3/28. Then took the jaunt up to Greensboro, NC for the next leg of the Deep South portion of the tour 3/30; 3/31.
Skipped a few dates, then hit Louisville, KY on the 9th, hoping the boys would somehow channel the magic from that legendary '74 Freedom Hall show.
My friend Jeff had just moved with his family to suburban Chicago,...so why not? Never been to Milwaukee before, and I'd heard the Mecca was a cool, old-fashioned venue with a wacked-out theme (it was).
So first day on sale, I mailed off my order to GDTS (I seem to recall the two Mecca shows being added late), and got a very prompt response with my tix.
A call to the travel agent got us $69.00p/p round trip airfare!
Jeff had gotten an insane deal (believe it or not, a "Grateful Dead package") at a beautiful old hotel right across the street from the Mecca-we had an actual hotel suite-two huge bedrooms, two baths, and an enormous "sitting room", with a kitchenette for something like $89.00 for the whole weekend!
Showtime first night, and the fun really begins! Hadn't paid that much attention to seat numbers on my mail order tix. Figured they'd be the regular indifferent seats one got from non-G/A venues when ordering from GDTS. Surprise, surprise, surprise-not only are we let onto the floor of the smaller than average mid-west arena, but are placed FRONT-ROW JERRY-CENTER! What the hell is going on? Holy shit, this is gonna be a magic night!
But...it was and it wasn't. The band played pretty well, sprightly in fact, but very fast, maybe too fast (odd to hear me say that)>Jams were tight, but not truly exploratory. The song selection and placement was pretty standard for that time frame. Every tune is well-played, and not sloppy or slurred...but...
Here comes Brent, sounding like he's had more than one, two, or five too many.
The "Blow Away" rant is just that-mawkish,self-indulgent, drunken babbling; the band sounds like they're deliberately trying to get him to end it-but he won't. His timing is off-listen to his backup vocals later on Terrapin-his singing is out of time.
The worst is yet to come-after a night full of promise and magic, a space that showed some cracking weirdness, and some hard-rockin' hints at what was to come...we are dragged out of Space by, whaaat?
"Daddy's come to take you home?" This is a joke right? Bob and Jerry jump out wearing the Bozo masks in a second right? Billy and Mickey moon the audience next, yeah?
I'm not kidding. I was there. At that point the entire front row SAT DOWN.
Subject: Good Times
I saw a lot of rock concerts (Jethro Tull, The Who, Neil Young, ZZ Top ...) at the old MECCA (the basketball arena in downtown Milwuakee before the Bradley Center was built). Not known for good acoustics, the Dead made this old barn sing. I never heard anything sound so good.
Nothing special, but well played, tight and very enjoyable.
Oh, Brent's rap is just fine. Brent put it out there every night playing his butt off. His death in 1990 was the first "end" followed of course by Jerry's death in 95.
Not much that stands out. All is played pretty standard, nothing exceptional, except Blow Away. I have no problem with Brent rapping. Sound quality is that of a flat board. I agree with a previous poster: this is for those that were there.
Chris U. -
Subject: I was there and I was not amused
I don't remember much but I do remember struggling over whether to kill myself or leave the concert and become a monk while listening to Brent's rap during "Let it Blow."
"Let it Rock," "Let it Bleed," "Let it Be" .... I'm sorry but "let it blow" is just a travesty.
During Brent's rap, the Pig was spinning so hard in his grave that his bandana flew off. I found it in the Mecca restroom, along with my sanity.
I give this two stars overall only because the speed is pitched to 1972 rates which gives the show a buoyant funkiness that was far beyond the band's reach in the post-coma "Wads of Grey" era.
Subject: Great, but definitely fast
Too bad. I'm averaging 1 for the pitch with 4 for the show, to come up with 2 overall. This one's for those who were there ...
Subject: Blown Away!
This Blow Away is arguably the best out there. Now, this doesn't have nearly as much band backup as the Capitol Centre version from 3/16/90, but Brent's emotions in the 'wait a second' part cannot be duplicated. The slower start makes for a much more anticipated ending than the Capitol Centre. Always something too when you get two F* bombs in one song from Brent. Hells yeah!
Subject: A well-performed nuanced gig that surpasses expectations
1st Set: A reedy relatively non-jammy, but sharply acute and tight "Mississippi" opens up proceedings from the holiest site of the Muslim people. Is it even facing the right direction? I don't believe there are a disproportionately amount of Muslims in Milwaukee in comparison to the proportion in Michigan. Anyways, "Stranger" continues the trend for quality musicianship. The beat isn't forceful but the stringed individuals are committed to fluid if not off the beaten path exploration. A good-natured, if not terribly intense "Franklin" follows. "Walkin" is minimally approached, but Bobby's vocals are keen on the snarl. "Push" would be standard if not for Brent attacting interest because of his off-beat 'key' choices. The same can be said for "Queen Jane;" it's not too distinguished. "Blow Away" is stuck in a little molasses/quicksand, but it's enthusiastically handled. Brent's raspy raw rapping reaps rewards. He goes on some bent about ribcages are equivalent to an emotional jailcell, but he organically entertains...too bad it's not quite as musically triumphant as the version at 'Dozin at the Knick.' "Promised" is an energetic & upbeat, if tad sloppy, way to end the set.
2nd Set: The tuning serves to disorient my system allowing for the opening riff of "China" to liberate me from that confused state and appreciate the effortless zone the men are in as they routinely attack the "China->Rider" with ease. Good ol' GD here with an extra oomph because it's '89. Oh my goodness that bird-like twiddling at the beginning of "Playin" is awfully charming. The song is speedy and strong. 'Standing on a Tower' sounds especially grand. The eager path carved heads into uncertain genre categories that unfortunately came to a close far too soon. "Terrapin" is more than adequately performed though Jerry doesn't have much personality or power in his voice. "Drums" inserts us into nighttime behaviorisms whereas "Space" takes the grinding beat and turns ip upwards into the scrambled eggs of our minds. Truly some wicked stuff. Then it gets humane and we're in for the Brent ballad. "Take You home" is as affecting as usual. Jerry provides wonderful segue "Watchtower" rocks as it should but is notable for plenty of Phil bombs and Jerry ragtagging the affair. Mmmm...what a lovely set-list, it's "Dew" time. Although vocally weak, it's punctuated by many rough yet exquisite moments. Not a searing climax, but suffices.
However, we still get to twist and shout with a satisfying "Saturday."
3 3/7th stars... thumbs up and recommended
Subject: Blow Away
The Pigpen-esque Blow Away rap is just awesome. This isn't the greatest sounding SBD out there, but it is an excellent show. I think a lot of the Spring 89 run is overshadowed by Fall 89, Summer 89, and Spring 90.
This 2 night run is IMHO the best of Spring 89.
Subject: Nice show!
This is a very solid show by the boys during a great period. Short show...very well played...sound is A- for a matrix SBD. Why can't all the recordings sound as good as the Alpine Valley run in July? Oh well, you can't have everything.
Highly recommend this show. It's a lot of fun.
Subject: Cass. gen
There is at least one cassette generation in this version. Turn it up & you can hear the hiss. It also sounds a little muddy. Great Blow Away as Brent must've been having problems at home. This was a hard ticket to find. All the Mecca shows were. It's a smaller venue.
Subject: Ahhhhm Good Ol' 1989
Sure was a Great year for the boys.
This baby sounds Soooo nice.
I'm a bit picky & I'd call this copy crispy.
It killer on my mid priced Altec Lansing center channel home system and great in the VW on the BLAUPUNKT. A + to all who donated. :-)
Keep On Growin' !
Subject: Let's Get Serious...
Check out the Blow Away, it's not to be missed.
Subject: The Mecca
Its funny what you remember and what you don't...I recall this night being really fun and pleasant, especially after some of the grim stops in the East this Spring tour (Pittsburg)...the Mecca is kind cozy compared to most of the other venues from that time. But I remembered the next night being the standout show...and then I grab this off the Archive and realize how hot this show really was...no wonder I had such a great time.
Once again, thanks to Jonathan and the Archive. This show is WAY worthy of the DL...very nice sound quality and a very solid performance from a great year.
Subject: high pitch
That would explain the speed/pitch issue mine ears detect. Great show though. Phil is on fire and Jerry reciprocates. Bob is plenty audible, and there's 2 Brent songs! Good ol' Grateful Dead.
skb archives -
Subject: Source Info
This is not a DSBD. It is from a cassette master.